I wanted to take the opportunity to give special praise to a player who recently returned to the MLS, Clint Dempsey. A lot of people in the UK probably know him and Landon Donovan as the two outstanding outfield players for the United States in recent times; in my mind, Dempsey stands along as the most successful export from the North American game.
I remember seeing Clint when I lived in Texas, and I actually recommended him to Boston at the time – little did I know that I was seeing someone who could fairly be described as the best player the country has produced. After establishing himself with New England Revolution, he earned a transfer to Fulham in 2006 for what turned out to be a bargain of around £2m. Since then, I don’t think anyone could argue that for the last seven years he was one of the most consistent midfielders in the Premier League – it’s no mean feat that he became Fulham’s all time top scorer in the Premier League. To score sixty goals in six seasons – an average of ten a year, though he really shone in his last two years at Craven Cottage – is a record comparable with anyone and should act as an example to players from the MLS.
Dempsey’s record should also act as an example to European clubs too – there is talent in the North American game and you can get quality players cheaply. If you must buy from overseas, you don’t always have to go to one of the more exotic names to get a good player. No disrespect to Clint, or Fulham for that matter – this is meant as a compliment – he thrived at Fulham, a club where he found a level he could excel at and help improve the team.
He earned the move to Tottenham last year and in some respects I was surprised that he only stayed there a year – he was great in his time at White Hart Lane, as his goal tally of thirteen showed, but he also helped them in the bigger games too.
That said, it’s commendable that he decided to come back to the MLS to end his career here when he has plenty left to give the game. He has had a brilliant career in England, matched by his wonderful international record, and he will thoroughly deserve his 100th cap next time he represents the national team. In Seattle, where he has moved to, there is a very English climate, so I can only see him thriving in that team and city too. It’s great that he has returned to North America when he is at the peak of his powers – coming off the back of a good season at Spurs, and at the height of his influence to the US national side, Dempsey’s return to the MLS is arguably more healthy for the state of the game than many of the so called “super star” signings we saw earlier in the century.
I can only congratulate Clint for his career in Europe, and look forward to watching him for the rest of his time in the MLS.
Bye for now,